As we wrap up the first quarter, here are five trends in packaging Pioneer is keeping an eye on for the rest of 2019.

Flexibility is more important than ever. In total, the flexible packaging market – which encompasses any package or part of packaging with a shape that can be easily changed – is worth approximately $31 billion. That’s around 19% of the $167 billion U.S. packaging industry, the second-largest segment behind corrugated paper and just ahead of bottles and miscellaneous rigid plastics packaging. According to the Flexible Packaging Association, much of that growth can be attributed to advancements in materials and production. New end-of-life recycling initiatives and environmentally-friendly plastics such as compatibilized polyethylene have added to its popularity.

Changes in the eCommerce sector. As online shopping supplements and even replaces traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, established brands are trying harder to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace, which is affecting their package designs. In 2019, we’re going to see more unusual designs, whether it’s adding an innovative gimmick or becoming more eye-appealing. Brands are reconsidering the amount of packaging they use; while using too much packaging may earn a reputation of being unfriendly to the environment, too little may add to the perception that a brand is generic, or even cheap.

Environmental awareness is increasing. As they become more aware of their impact on the planet, consumers are demanding more sustainable packaging. More and more brands are paying attention and changing their packaging to reflect this ethos. For example, L’Oréal USA introduced new shower-friendly paper bottles on Earth Day last year and more brands are scrapping non-recyclable plastics in favor of biodegradable alternatives like paper and hemp, and even algae and fungi.

Less = more. The trend toward stripping packaging down to its bare essentials is nothing new, but minimalist packaging looks to increase in popularity in 2019, as brands play up to the skepticism of environmentally-aware consumers toward companies they perceive as using packaging to distract them from something else. More consumers associate simplicity with transparency and feel if a product uses only a small amount of text in its packaging, they have less to hide and will reward the brand with trust and, eventually, loyalty.

The past is powerful. More and more brands are leveraging consumer nostalgia for vintage packaging or even creating new packaging with a deliberately retro look and feel, especially in the food and drink sectors. This reminds baby boomers and millennials of their past, evoking a warm, emotional response toward brands and instilling confidence and trust with familiar brands.   

To make sure your company is keeping up with trends in the packaging industry, contact Pioneer Packaging Worldwide. Let our team help your brand stay relevant and profitable in 2019 and for years to come.